Immigrating to the U.S. From the U.K.
The United States ranks as the second most popular country for immigration from the U.K., beaten only by Australia. Moving from the U.K. to the United States can open up various opportunities for you and your family. Many U.K. citizens view the United States as a country with great prospects, freedom, different climates, and better living conditions.
If you are considering making a move to the United States, call Total Law on 0333 305 9375 for a confidential discussion about how we can help you and your loved ones settle in the United States.
- How to Immigrate to the U.S. From the U.K.
- Immigrant Visas
- Immigrant Visa Categories
- Employment Sponsored Visa Categories
- Non-Immigrant Visas
- What are the requirements for immigrating to the United States?
- Requirements for family-based visas
- Requirements for employment-based visas
- Who Can Apply for a Green Card?
How to Immigrate to the U.S. From the U.K.
If you want to reside permanently in the United States, you have to obtain the correct type of immigrant visa or green card. Getting an immigrant visa to the United States can be a lengthy process, unlike other countries. Sometimes the process can take up to or over a year.
The U.S. provides immigrant visas based on employment, family ties, special immigrant categories, and diversity visas. You may also be able to move to the U.S. if you win a green card via the Diversity Visa lottery program. Another way you can become a permanent resident in the U.S. is if you are seeking asylum or are granted refugee status.
To apply for an immigrant visa, you generally must be sponsored by a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR) immediate relative, a U.S. citizen, or a prospective employer. You must have an approved petition before you apply for an immigrant visa. Your sponsor files a petition on your behalf with USCIS.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is in charge of immigration to the country and approves (or denies) immigrant applications. Immigrant visas to the United States are processed for residents and citizens of the U.K. at the U.S. Embassy in London.
Once you obtain an immigrant visa and move to the United States, you become an LPR. You can live, study, work and engage in any activities you like in the country. Below are the two main broad immigrant visa categories which are as follows:
You can apply for a family-sponsored visa if you have close family members residing permanently in the United States such as a spouse, parent, or fiancé(e).
A U.S. employer-sponsored visa is an immigrant visa that allows its holder to work permanently in the country. The U.S. government offers around 140,000 employment-based visas per fiscal year. Employer-sponsored visas may be relevant to you, depending on your career history or circumstances.
Note that the other types of immigrant visas include diversity lottery green cards, humanitarian green cards, and special immigrant visas.
Immigrant Visa Categories
Family-Sponsored Visa Categories
1. U.S. Spouse Visas:
You are eligible for a U.S. marriage visa if you are married to a U.S. citizen legally. You have to provide documentary proof of marriage. Below are the subcategories of U.S. spouse visas:
- Conditional Resident Visa – you have recently married and will maintain the marriage status for 2 years. This prevents marriages solely to gain permanent entry into the country.
- Immediate Relative Visa – following a two-year marriage, you gain LPR status.
2. K1 Visa
You are eligible for the K1 visa if you are engaged to a citizen of the United States. This visa expired within 90 days. You should be married by then and begin filing the petition for obtaining a spouse visa during this period.
3. K2 Visa
A K2 visa is offered to the unmarried children of persons holding a K1 visa (Fiancé visa). The children must be under 21 years old.
4. K3 Visa
The K3 visa category was formulated to reduce the time a couple (married) stays apart when a petition approval for one partner is pending. While the petition is processed, this visa allows the foreign spouse to reside in the United States.
The K4 visa is offered to the unmarried children of persons holding a K3 visa. The children must be under 21 years old.
6. Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children
This visa category is utilized by U.S. citizens adopting foreign children. The children are eligible for any one of the following visas:
- IR3 – offered to children following completion of the adoption process. For eligibility, the child has to come from a nation that doesn’t mandate re-adoption following entry into the United States. Children below the age of 18 years become automatic citizens at the time they first enter the country.
- IR4 – Given to children that enter the U.S. and then have their adoption completed. The parents will be legal guardians and file for adoption when the child enters the country.
7. Family Members of U.S. Citizens
This category of immigrant visas is granted to U.S. citizens’ family members or their partners.
- IR2 Visa – Given to the children (not married) of persons holding an IR-1 visa. The children must be under 21 years old.
- CR2 Visa -Given to children (not married) of persons holding a CR-1 visa. The children must be under 21 years old.
- IR5 Visa – Offered to the parents of a citizen above 25 years old.
- F1 Visa – Offered to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens as well as their spouses and minor children. It has a cap of 23,400 visas.
- F3 Visa – Offered to married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens as well as their spouses and minor children. It has a cap of 23,400 visas.
- F4 Visa – Given to siblings of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and minor children. The U.S. citizen has to be at least 21 years old, and the visa has a cap of 65,000 visas.
Employment Sponsored Visa Categories
1. First Priority Workers: Eb1 Visa
- https://total.law/eb1-visa-for-uk-citizensInternationally recognized and outstanding researchers and professors
- Persons with extraordinary abilities in sciences, arts, businesses, athletics, or education
- Multinational managers for a U.S. parent company, branch, or subsidiary who have worked abroad for at least one of the past three years.
Second Priority Workers: Eb2 Visa
- Professionals with an advanced degree, have completed higher education beyond Bachelor’s Degree, or have a Bachelor’s Degree and five years’ experience in the profession.
- Persons with exceptional abilities in sciences, business, or arts
3. Third Priority Workers: Eb3, EW3 Visas
- Eb3 Visa – Given to skilled workers with at least two years of training or experience in their profession (must not be seasonal).
- EW3 Visa – Granted to unskilled workers who don’t require at least two years of training or experience to work in a given position.
4. Fourth Priority Workers: Eb4 Visa
- Religious workers
- Current or former U.S. government employees
- Broadcasters in the U.S.
- Some foreign medical graduates
- Iraqi and Afghan employees of the U.S. government
- Iraqi and Afghan translators or interpreters
5. Fifth Priority Workers: EB5 Visa
EB-Visas are granted to investors investing at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a rural area or high unemployment area in the U.S. There are four categories of these immigrant visas:
- C5 visas for investors who provide employment opportunities outside target areas
- T5 visas for investors who create jobs in high unemployment or rural areas
- R5 visas for investors participating in an Investor Pilot Program outside the target area.
- I5 visas for investors participating in an Investor Pilot Program in the targeted area.
Every year, the U.S. admits different non-citizens into the country temporarily. Non-immigrant visas are the visas granted to these individuals.
Non-immigrant visas can be given to everyone from foreign students to tourists to temporary workers. If you qualify for a non-immigrant visa, you may need to prove to officials that you will not move to an immigrant category.
Nonimmigrant visa categories
|Purpose of Travel||Visa Category|
|Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money).||B1|
|Au pair (exchange visitor)||J|
|Australian professional speciality||E3|
|Border crossing card (Mexico)||BCC|
|CNMI-only transitional worker||CW1|
|Diplomat or foreign government official||A|
|Domestic employee or nanny accompanying a foreign national employer||B1|
|An employee of a designated international organization or NATO||G1-G5, NATO|
|Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States||A-2, NATO1-6|
|Foreign national with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.||O1|
|Free trade agreement (FTA) professional: Chile, Singapore||H1, B1|
|International cultural exchange visitor||Q|
|Medical treatment, visitor||B2|
|NAFTA professional worker (Mexico, Canada)||TN/TD|
|Performing athlete, artist, entertainer||P|
|Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)||J|
|Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge||H1B|
|Student (academic, vocational)||F, M|
|Temporary agricultural worker||H2A|
|Temporary worker performing other services or labour of a temporary or seasonal nature.||H2B|
|Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor||B2|
|Training in a program not primarily for work||H3|
|Treaty trader/ treaty investor||E|
|Transiting the United States||C|
|Victim of criminal activity||U|
|Victim of human trafficking||T|
|Nonimmigrant visa for spouse and children of a lawful permanent resident.||V|
What are the requirements for immigrating to the United States?
The requirements for immigrating to the U.S. will depend on the type of visa you apply for. For most visa applications, you will need to pass:
- A background check – You will likely have to submit police reports from past residencies and answer questions about any past transgressions
- A medical exam – You will be interviewed regarding your history of communicable diseases, mental health as well as drug use
Requirements for family-based visas
The main requirement for a family-based immigration visa is that you must be closely related to a U.S. citizen or LPR. An affidavit of financial support from an individual ensuring you won’t fall into poverty while residing in the U.S. is also required. Usually, your sponsoring relative or partner will be your financial sponsor. The financial sponsor should have a household income of at least 125% of federal poverty guidelines.
Requirements for employment-based visas
A specific U.S. employer must sponsor you. You must also provide evidence that you have extraordinary skills in your chosen profession. To qualify for these types of visas, you must meet the specific criteria for the category under which you apply. You must properly document your training, skills, and international or national recognition as relevant to the category under which you are applying.
Who Can Apply for a Green Card?
To apply for a Green Card, you have to be entitled under one of these categories below:
- Green Card through the Family -If you are the spouse or family member of a U.S. citizen
- Green Card through the Employment – If you are a first, second, third preference immigrant worker
- Green Card through the Refugee or Asylee Status – If you were admitted as a refugee or granted asylum at least one year ago
- Green Card as a Special Immigrant – If you are a religious worker, Iraqi or Afghani U.S. employee or interpreter, international broadcaster, or employee of an eligible international organization or NATO
- Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse – If you are an abused spouse of an LPR or U.S. citizen, abused child of the same, or abused parents of a U.S. citizen
- Green Card through Registry – If you have lived in the U.S. continuously since before January 1, 1972
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